Ripping the Lakers right now is about as challenging as ripping Qatar as a World Cup venue. You don’t even have to try.
That said, the voice of Magic Johnson shredding the Lakers — on twitter, most recently on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno — rings hollow. For a guy whose statue is outside Staples Center he spent a lot of time ripping the coach, players and everyone associated with the organization. He swung wildly on issues — remember he fully supported the hiring of Mike Brown when it happened — and of late he sounded like a drunk, frustrated fan at a bar complaining about everything. He was part of a foolish “the Lakers should be a contender every single year” mindset that is delusional. His already tedious twitter feed had been filled with Lakers blasts.
Finally, someone seems to have gotten through to him, that this wasn’t good for his image (and someday when the Dodgers’ struggle he wouldn’t enjoy the Karma). This is from Magic’s timeline on Thursday night.
The Lakers are not good right now but that’s about the talent on the floor, now what D’Antoni is doing with it. The plan for the Lakers is to go find elite talent the next couple years — somewhat via the draft but more via free agency the next couple summers — then when they have the talent decide who should coach it. Until then, D’Antoni’s style is entertaining and can help guys like Kendall Marshall thrive. It helps other guys put up inflated numbers that boosts their trade value. He’s a good fit for this team right now.
I don’t like saying Magic Johnson is wrong because he is my all-time favorite player, and he is a guy who has done more off the court for my city of Los Angeles than he did on the court (not to mention his helping change the image of HIV). I admire the man. But he should be smart enough to know where the Lakers really are in the process right now. This “the Lakers should never be anything but a contender” attitude is outdated and that more indicative of the drunk fan at the bar than any rational thought.
I’m glad Magic is moving on, so well all can.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.